Every new driver knows that an MOT is an essential check that needs to be carried out every year - fail your MOT and you're in trouble! But what exactly is an MOT checking for and why is it so important?
What is an MOT?
- The MOT is a comprehensive test that's carried out to guidelines set out by the government's Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
- Your vehicles is checked over thoroughly to ensure it's safe and roadworthy enough to drive on UK roads
- The Ministry of Transport originally made this roadworthiness test mandatory, and although it no longer exists, the name lives on. The “MOT” in MOT Test stands for Ministry of Transport.
- If your vehicle is more than three years old it has to have an MOT every year
- Check the Government website to see when you should book your MOT
Take your car along to a test centre and they'll check over the important parts of your vehicle to ensure each meets the minimum standard set out by the DVSA. You can often watch the test being carried out from a viewing area, but you cannot interrupt the tester while they're at work.
Each component tested must meet the DVSA standard before the tester issues you with an MOT certificate showing that your car has passed.
Which parts are tested?
Vehicle Identification Number - checks that the VIN is present and legibly displayed
Registration - checks the condition, security, legibility and the format of letters and numbers on your registration plate
Lights - checks the condition, operation, security and colour of your vehicle's lights
Steering, suspension and brakes
Wipers and washer bottle - ensuring that all operate correctly to give you a clear view
Windscreen - checked for chips and cracks - the maximum damage size allowable is 10mm in the driver's line of vision or 40mm elsewhere in the remaining area swept by the wiper blades
Windows and mirrors
Seats, seatbelts and horn
Fuel system - checked for leaks and fuel cap and seals are checked too
Emissions - tests to see that your exhaust emissions are within the specified guidelines and that the exhaust is complete and secure
Bodywork and doors - specific areas are checked for excessive corrosion or damage. Any sharp edge can result in an MOT failure
Wheels and tyres - checked for type, size, condition, security and tread depth
How much is an MOT?
The cost depends on the type of vehicle you have and where you take it for testing. There’s a maximum amount MOT test stations can charge, and you don't pay VAT on the fee.
- £54.85 - the maximum fee for a car
- £29.65 - the maximum fee for a standard motorcycle
What if I fail my MOT?
In this case, you'll:
- Be given a 'Refusal of an MOT Test' certificate
- Be given a list of things that need to be fixed in order for you to pass
- Have your car's test result recorded in the MOT database
You can appeal the result if you think it's wrong. You can either leave your vehicle at the test centre to be repaired and re-tested within 10 days (provided the MOT hasn’t expired by then!) or have it repaired elsewhere and then return it for a re-test.
Take a look at the Government website for all your re-test options, as you may be able to avoid paying the full MOT fee for a re-test depending on your circumstances.
Helping your car pass it's MOT
Most faults involve lights and tyres. Almost half of all MOT fault can be avoided by carrying out simple maintenance. So, before your MOT, give your car a maintenance check yourself, paying special attentions to lights, wiper blades, your windscreen and tyres, to give your vehicle the best chance of passing first time.